How to Spice Up Your Customer’s Experience

UnknownI haven’t actually shared a lot of personal stories here lately.  Perhaps I need to get out more to fill my story tank.  It’s Summer now.  Hopefully my hibernating days are over for the next few months.  This little story was relayed to me last night and I just had to share it.

First off, as backdrop, my father-in-law’s taste buds have a panache for any and all things spicy.  If he could put Maruga Scorpions on his Cheerios every morning, he would. By the way, I didn’t link to it here because the video is a bit off-putting.  But, if you want to see what this chili pepper would do to you if you actually ate one, search Maruga Scorpion on YouTube.  What is wrong with that man?

So, back to the story.  My father-in-law loves spicy food.  While we were at dinner last night at Chickie’s & Pete’s, he asked the server for jalapenos on his salad.  This wasn’t a common request apparently.  But, the server came through with a hefty serving of sliced peppers.  While we waited, my father-in-law told us of a recent visit he made to a Carrabba’s in Charotte, NC.

There, he made the same request when ordering a salad.  A heaping pile of jalapenos on top.  Ok, so Carrabba’s is an Italian spot.  I wasn’t surprised to hear when he said the server there looked at him a little sideways.  She admitted, a little bit deflated, that they didn’t even have jalapenos in the building, much less on the menu.  Half jokingly, my father-in-law suggested maybe she run to the grocery store to get some.

A few minutes later, she turned to his table with his salad.  Sans peppers.

So, here’s the moment of truth.  A customer, while his expectation may not have been realistic, is feeling less than fulfilled.  And a service delivery person, due to circumstances beyond her control, is left with the same feeling.

Flash forward a few minutes.  The server returns to the table and presents a bowl filled with gorgeous, green, shiny jalapenos!

Stunned.  My father-in-law inquired how she pulled off the feat.  The server explained that she had to wait for her break, which is why she did not bring them with his salad.  But at her break, she left the restaurant.  Walked across the parking lot to the Mexican restaurant down the block.  And cajoled the kitchen staff with her story of desperately wanting to please her customer to offer her some jalapenos.

Now that’s HOT customer service!


  1. Barry, great story. That waitress did customer service the right way. I hope your father-in-law gave her an extra big tip!

  2. When I was in elementary school, my sister and I used to go to lunch with our grandma once a week at Ruby Tuesday. I had a thing for maraschino cherries back then (come on, what little kid doesn’t love Shirley Temples?!) and we always used to sit in the same section at the restaurant. Oftentimes, we were served by the same guy in his 20s and he always used to bring me a bowl of maraschino cherries. I was happy, my grandma was happy, and I’m sure the server made good money on a regular basis because he knew how to please his customers.

    To this day, I still love Ruby Tuesday.

    • Great story, Caitlin. Isn’t it amazing how those little things that individuals do make such a long-lasting impact. Better than the most ingenius branding efforts could ever do. Thanks for sharing the story.


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